The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Wednesday directed home departments of states and Union Territories to broadcast and publicise the “serious consequences under the law” for those indulging in mob violence.
Officials said the MHA, in consultation with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, will soon start broadcasting messages on radio and TV that mob lynchings would invite “stricter punishment”.
Thirty-four lynching deaths have been reported from nine states in the last one year. The most recent incident took place at Imphal where a 26-year-old man identified as Farooque Khan was killed by a mob on the suspicion that he was a vehicle-lifter.
Citing Monday’s directive of the Supreme Court, the MHA told the states that preventive measures must be taken to check incidents of lynching. The apex court has ordered that Central and state governments should broadcast on radio, television and other media platforms, including official websites of state home department and police, that lynching of any kind shall invite serious consequences under the law.
The MHA has also reminded eight states and UTs to file reports indicating their compliance with the July 17 apex court verdict. The top court has specifically asked (the states) for action taken in compliance of the directions contained under the heading “preventive measures”.
The fresh guidelines by the Centre come at a time when a Group of Ministers, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, is yet to finalise a legal framework to address the issue. Singh had said in Parliament that the government will enact a law, if required, to curb incidents of mob violence.
Taking cognizance of rampant incidents of mob violence, the apex court had said, “There has been an unfortunate litany of spiralling mob violence and agonised horror, presenting a grim and gruesome picture that compels us to reflect whether the populace of a great Republic like ours has lost the values of tolerance to sustain a diverse culture. Besides, bystander apathy, numbness of the mute spectators of the scene of the crime, inertia of the law enforcing machinery to prevent such crimes and nip them in the bud and grandstanding of the incident by the perpetrators of the crimes, including in the social media, aggravates the entire problem.”
Following the apex court’s observation, MHA issued advisories to states and UTs, asking them to appoint an SP-level nodal officer in each district to take steps to prevent mob lynchings, set up a special task force to gather intelligence and closely monitor social media to prevent such attacks.